Passenger and goods transport through ports increased last year

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2019, compared to 2018, the number of passengers on main national ship lines increased by 4% and in international traffic by 0.3%. The freight volume of ports in tonnes increased by around 5%.

In international sea traffic, 10.7 million passengers used the services of Estonian ports. The number of passengers travelling between Estonia and Finland increased slightly, reaching 9 million. Between Estonia and Sweden, 1.1 million passengers were transported, i.e. 10% less compared to 2018. On international routes, over 2.1 million vehicles were served by ports; 71% were passenger cars and 26% were trucks and trailers. During the cruise season, 676,400 cruise passengers arrived in Estonia, i.e. 4% more than the year before.

On main national ship lines, around 2.6 million passengers were transported, i.e. 104,500 passengers more than in 2018. There were 16,700 trips made and 1.1 million vehicles served, i.e. over 50,900 more vehicles than in 2018. Of the served vehicles, 71% were passenger cars and almost a fourth were trucks and trailers.

Estonian ports handled 37.6 million tonnes of cargo, which is 1.8 million tonnes more than the year before. 25.3 million tonnes of goods were loaded and 12.3 million tonnes unloaded. The volume of transit goods in Estonian ports was 20.2 million tonnes, i.e. 6% more compared to the previous year. 14.6 million tonnes of transit cargo was loaded and 5.6 million tonnes unloaded. 10.7 million tonnes of goods were exported through ports and 6.6 million tonnes of goods were imported.

Sea container transportation through ports was similar to the previous year, amounting to 242,060 TEUs in 2019. The number of containers shipped out of Estonian ports was over 120,855 TEUs, and the number received was 121,205 TEUs.

According to the Estonian Maritime Information System, 11,434 ships arrived from foreign ports. The majority were general cargo non-specialised ships (including ro-ro passenger ships), totalling 9,297. Also, 991 liquid bulk carriers, 263 container ships, 175 dry bulk carriers, 116 specialised carriers and 334 cruise ships arrived in Estonian ports.

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The highest wages in the ICT and finance sector

Wage growth remained relatively rapid and broad-based in the fourth quarter. Statistics Estonia’s wage data showed a slowdown in the annual growth rate of the full-time-equivalent average gross wage (+6.4%, over the year) in Q4 2019, mostly due to a high base effect of Q4 2018.

Tax Authority’s data on the median wage showed a continuously rapid wage growth of +9.0%, over the year. The average inflation-adjusted net wage increased by 3.5%, over the year.

Wage growth in the public sector (education, health care, public administration) exceeded wage growth in the private sector.

Private sector, exposed to global competition, has found it harder lifting its labour costs as rapidly. Among different sectors, the average wage was still the highest in the ICT and finance, which also saw solid growth rates in 2019.

As export demand and Estonia’s economy are expected to grow at a slower pace this year, demand for labour should ease, at least in the exporting industry. So, wage growth should moderate, from very high levels (from 7.4% in 2019 to 6.5% in 2020 and 5.5% in 2021). Wage growth in the public sector should also soften, according to the 2020’s budget.

Source: Swedbank

The Tree of Truth shows how Estonia is doing

Statistics Estonia and the Government Office presented a new web application called the Tree of Truth on October 17th, 2019. It is a gauge of important national indicators, giving a simple, honest and objective picture of how the country is doing.

Tree of Truth

Director General of Statistics Estonia Mart Mägi explained at the presentation of the new application that the need for such a tool became strongly evident last year when Statistics Estonia introduced sustainable development indicators. Contrary to expectations, the audience included very few members of the Riigikogu, who could take advantage of reliable and good quality information in decision‑making.

“Sorting through large amounts of data is often daunting and difficult. Coming to conclusions based on these data takes time. Often conclusions are not made or not used as much as they could be. The Tree of Truth shows the state’s goals and governance principles in a more understandable way,” said Mägi. The application can be used by public and private sector employees, but it is mostly meant for people who are interested in how the country is actually doing and wish to make informed decisions based on real data.

Henry Kattago, Director of the Government Office Strategy Unit, said that the comparisons visualised on the Tree of Truth are a good basis for planning strategic activities and analysing results currently and in the future. “The tree shows very clearly where we currently stand. It should become an important tool for making decisions and planning activities in specific domains,” said Kattago.

The Tree of Truth compares results using 135 measurable indicators included in the government action plan 2019–2023 (short-term goals), reform programme Estonia 2020 (medium-term goals) and the Estonian National Strategy on Sustainable Development Sustainable Estonia 21 (long-term goals). The tree displays data of 15 activity areas and the results are visible on either green, yellow or red leaves.

“Green leaves mean that the goal has been reached or we are on track. Yellow leaves signify that there is some progress to be made. Red leaves show that we have significant catch-up to do to achieve the desired goals,” Mägi explained.

The launch of the Tree of Truth took place today in Kadriorg next to one of the oldest oak trees in Estonia to symbolise how the data reflecting Estonia’s progress are now conveniently available in a tree-shaped application. Actor Priit Loog gave a speech and President Kersti Kaljulaid also addressed the audience.

Data in Tree of Truth are continuously updated. The application is available on Statistics Estonia’s websiteStatistics Estonia is a government agency. Its main task is to provide objective information on the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation and trends in Estonia. The goal of Statistics Estonia is to become by 2022 the most effective and innovative producer of reliable and user-friendly statistics in Europe.

Source: Statistics Estonia

See more here –

Estonian unemployment rate was 4.4 pct in 2019

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2019, the labour force participation rate was 71.6%, the employment rate was 68.4% and the unemployment rate was 4.4%. The annual average number of persons active in the labour market was 702,600 and persons employed numbered 671,300.

Last year, there were 586,200 persons working full-time and 85,100 persons working part-time. The number of part-time workers increased slightly year-on-year and continues to remain high. Most of the persons with part-time jobs were women. Their reasons for working part-time were personal and family-related as well as studies. Men worked part-time mainly for the reason that they did not want to work full-time.

In 2019, the number of underemployed persons was 6,100, which is less than in the previous year. A person is underemployed if he or she works part-time but would like to work more and is available for additional work within two weeks.

The labour force participation rate among 15–64-year-olds was 78.6%. This indicator is also included in the National Reform Programme “Estonia 2020”, with the target to raise the labour force participation rate in this age group to 75%. This target is also displayed as a positive green leaf on the Tree of Truth (currently in Estonian). This web application of Statistics Estonia is a gauge of important national indicators, offering a picture of how the country is doing.

In 2019, compared to 2018, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 6,400, totalling 31,300. There was also a decrease in the number of long-term unemployed, and it stood at 6,200. Long-term unemployed are persons who have been looking for work for 12 months or longer. The long-term unemployed are also at the greatest risk of poverty among unemployed persons, as staying out of the labour market can have an impact on the person’s work skills and habits.

The number of inactive persons in the labour market was 278,400. The main reasons for being inactive were retirement, studies and illness or disability. There were 28,500 persons available to work but not seeking work by reason of inactivity, most of them among retirement-aged persons and those inactive due to studies. These are persons who are not actively looking for work but are available for work immediately if work was offered.

In the 4th quarter of 2019, the employment rate was 69.2%, the labour force participation rate was 72.1% and the unemployment rate was 4.1%.

Source: Statistics Estonia

See graph here

Estonian GDP grew 4.3 pct in 2019

According to Statistics Estonia, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Estonia grew 4.3% in 2019. In the 4th quarter of 2019, the GDP grew 3.9% compared to the same period of the previous year. The Estonian GDP was 28 billion euros at current prices.

The high economic growth persisted from quarter to quarter, exceeding 4% for the third year in a row. The main contributor to the growth was information and communication, followed by wholesale and retail trade, and professional, scientific and technical activities. Manufacturing had a positive impact on the economic growth in the middle of the year, and the second half of the year saw a strong contribution from the previously modest agricultural sector. The only notable negative impact came from the energy sector.

Information and communication, finance and insurance, and professional, scientific and technical activities experienced the fastest growth in value added in a decade. Value added in information and communication grew as much as 28.6%. Value added dropped in mining and quarrying and in the energy sector.

Domestic demand grew at the fastest rate in seven years. The growth was led by investments that grew 13.1% mostly in the first half of the year. The growth of investments was broad-based and supported by all economic activities and sectors, except for the government sector. The biggest positive impact came from the investments of non-financial corporations into buildings and structures and transportation equipment. Households’ investments into dwellings were also notable. Household consumption grew 3.1%.

Exports grew 4.9%. The exports of goods and services grew at a similar pace. The main contributors were the sale of computer services and the export of motor vehicles and wood products. Imports grew 3.7%, mainly on account of the purchase of construction and transportation services.

The number of persons employed continued to grow and the productivity per person employed increased 3%. Productivity per hour worked increased 3.7%. The labour unit cost grew 4.6%.

In the 4th quarter of 2019, the seasonally and working day adjusted GDP grew 0.9% compared to the previous quarter. Compared to the 4th quarter of 2018, the seasonally and working day adjusted GDP grew 4%.

A notable portion of the economic growth came from information and communication. The growth was also supported by agriculture, fishing and forestry, and wholesale and retail trade. The energy sector continued to have a negative impact on the growth due to the warm winter. A notable positive impact, however, came from the net product taxes.

The growth of domestic demand, supported by investments, was 3.3%. Household consumption grew 1.7%.

Foreign trade experienced a small decline at the end of the year. Exports (–0.6%) and imports

(–0.5%) declined at a similar pace and net exports remained positive at 2.1% of the GDP.

As the economic growth slowed slightly in the 4th quarter, so did the productivity. Productivity per person employed grew 2.6% and productivity per hour worked grew 3.8%. Unit labour cost increased 2.8%.

Source: Statistics Estonia

See the table of economic sectors here

The turnover of retail trade enterprises was 585 mEUR in January

According to Statistics Estonia, in January 2020, the turnover of retail trade enterprises was 585 million euros. Compared to January 2019, turnover increased by 3% at constant prices.

The turnover of stores selling manufactured goods increased by 11% and the turnover of grocery stores by 5% compared to January of the previous year. The turnover of enterprises engaged in the retail sales of automotive fuel decreased by 17%. The turnover fall of these enterprises was influenced by the high reference base of January of the previous year and continuing price increase of automotive fuel.

Compared to December, the turnover of retail trade enterprises decreased by 16% in January. This is a usual fall following the Christmas and turn-of-the-year sales in December. According to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data, retail sales increased by 1% compared to the previous month.

See graph here 
Source: Statistics Estonia